One day before the men took to the ice to represent their countries, the premeir match-up in women’s hockey was back for another round, this time with Canada and the United States fighting for the top seed entering the playoffs.
The United States led after two, but a strong push to start the third, and a controversial call, put the Canadians on top, as they won 3-2.
Both teams didn’t ease into the contest, as the trademark physical play began with the first shift for both teams. The Americans had two power-plays in the first period, but Canada still dominated, although the frame would end in a scoreless tie. Canada out-shot the U.S. 11-8 through 20 minutes.
The second period would be more of the same, with Charline Labonte of Canada and Jesse Vetter of the United States standing tall well past 30 minutes into the game. After Canada went on their second consecutive power-play, Kelli Stack was robbed by Labonte on a short-handed break. The U.S. wouldn’t be held off the board for much longer, however, as Hilary Knight tipped an Anne Schepler shot past Labonte for a power-play goal. The United States would control the final two minutes of the period, but the horn would sound with America winning 1-0.
It wouldn’t take long for Canada to bounce back, as they tied the score 1-1 when Hayley Wickenheiser made a beautiful pass to Meghan Agosta on the power-play. The Canadian’s second power-play
came on their 11th opportunity of the Games, getting off to a much slower start than anticipated.
The story of the game was the controversial goal call made on Canada’s second goal, when Wickenheiser’s shot snuck under Vetter’s back and into the net. The American’s argued that the whistle was blown before the puck crossed the goal-line, but after a short review, the call stood. Agosta scored on a break-away to extend their lead to 3-1 with 5 minutes left in the game, but the Americans would charge back and score to make it 3-2 with 60 seconds to go. A Canada penalty, and a U.S. pulled goalie gave the States a 6-on-4 in the final 30 seconds, but Canada held on to win 3-2.
Agosta recorded two goals, including the game-winner, on her 27th birthday. On this day eight years ago in Torino, Agosta scored a hat-trick on her 19th birthday, becoming the first Olympic hockey player to do so.
Even more impressive, Canada has only trailed for only 82:49 since Women’s Hockey was added to the Olympics in 1998. Tonight, it was only four minutes that the Canadians were behind.
The Americans and Canadians will head to seperate playoff brackets, and will not meet until the medal round. It is expected that both teams will re-match for the Gold Medal: The two teams have met in 18 of the past 19 World Championships/Olympics, dating back to 1990.
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